It is true that most companies in the U.S. have become considerably more understanding of pregnant employees, but there is still some level of discrimination happening every day. Sometimes you may not even be aware that your employers are discriminating against you or other employees based on pregnancy. The key is to recognize the discrimination. Understanding the laws will help you to deter any unfair treatment.
A relatively new federal law called the Pregnancy Discrimination Act was passed to prevent discrimination against pregnant employees across the country. This law covers any business that has 15 or more employees, and it prevents employers from being able to fire, demote, refuse to promote or refuse to hire any woman who is pregnant or plans on being pregnant at a later time.
The PDA also offers protection from employers who try to compensate pregnant employees differently, which includes paying pregnant employees lesser wages, offering fewer benefits or excluding them from training or meetings.
There are also some states that have similar laws in place to prevent discrimination. These state laws have lower employee requirements for businesses, so that if you work for a company with less than 15 people, you may still be covered.
In addition to the PDA and state laws, there is the Family and Medical Leave Act that guarantees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for new or expectant mothers.
As stated earlier, it is hard to know when you’re being discriminated against. Keep in mind that the state laws and the PDA only ensure that you should be treated equally.
However, if you still believe that you are being treated unfairly because you are pregnant or plan to be, then you should take action. Start by talking to your supervisor about possible solutions. If that does not work, you can lodge a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and contact a reputable employment attorney for more assistance.
Atkerson Law – Employment lawyer